Book by Thomas J. Kerr, Margaret C. King and Thomas J. Grites
Review by Karen L. Archambault-Crim
Director of Student Services
Brookdale Community College (Lincroft, NJ)

In the drive toward high rankings and improved retention statistics, transfer students often fall through the cracks within institutions of higher education. Advising Transfer Students, one of the latest NACADA monographs, demonstrates the uniqueness of this sometimes challenging student population and provides strategies for integrating transfer students into the work of advising centers and the institution as a whole. In doing so, this monograph provides a framework advisors can use to better understand these students and help them reach their varied educational goals.
The centerpiece of Advising Transfer Students is its emphasis on two seemingly opposing points of view regarding transfer students.  First, the editors present transfer students as unique in their characters and needs; therefore they require focused evaluation and assistance. Second, the editors argue that the concept of transfer students as a group has been overemphasized; transfers are too heterogeneous a group to benefit from simplification of services or needs. The ability of the editors to meld these two seemingly opposing concepts into a collection of essays is perhaps the work’s greatest strength. Their view of transfer students as a broad group – including those transitioning from high school to college, as well as those transferring from community colleges and from other four year schools – allows the editors to develop a monograph that is broad in scope while it still addresses the specifics of subsections under the “transfer student” umbrella.

Advising administrators who seek to improve the quality of their services will benefit greatly from the “best practices” approach used in later chapters. Here readers will find examples that detail how to build comprehensive transfer programs including examples from the Florida statewide system and the College of Charleston where wide-ranging resources focus on academic advising as part of the retention-to-graduation of transfer students. Those seeking to go beyond transfer articulation agreements will find a range of options available.  

In addition to the editors’ emphasis on planning and programming, the work demonstrates why individual advisors must gain the specific knowledge necessary to successfully assist transfer students.  Discussions on the benefits of web based articulation agreements and automated transfer credit evaluations are balanced by an understanding that the advisor remains central to the student’s success. Transfer students benefit from technology only when the technology enhances, but does not replace, the knowledge and presence of advisors. This is particularly true when advisors work with students during recruitment and orientation.  

Readers seeking a guide for working with transfer students, their advisors, and program administrators, will be well served by this work. Readers will be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive and helpful text that addresses the needs of transfer students.

Advising Transfer Students: Issues and Strategies. (2004). Book by Thomas J. Kerr, Margaret C. King and Thomas J. Grites, Eds. Review by Karen L. Archambault-Crim. Manhattan, KS: NACADA, 168 pp. $40.00, (paperback) Order # M12
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